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5.

Today is #3’s birthday.

June 5 scribbles

As of today, I will have three children in double digits.

They will never be in the single digits again.  It’s a milestone for every child and for every mama.

In roman numerals, the number 10 is an X.

X.  An unknown.

For me, coming up to the tenth year is always difficult.  It is the almost point.  It’s like when you are on top of the roller coaster and you can just see that you are coming to the top and are peering over the edge.  You aren’t quite at the top because all you see is sky and horizon. The downhill isn’t in view or even a reality yet.

At ten, you are still in the thick of childhood.  But the thinning is starting to accelerate.  The coaster is just about to pick up speed.

Adolescence is a series of hills.  And it’s not a steady climb or easy downward stroll.  It is fast, furious, and exhilarating.  Watching my children go down the first big drop makes my own stomach flip.

And you know that you can’t keep them at the top.  You can’t pull the emergency break and hold them there.  You can’t turn away from the tough questions, the mood swings, and the startling revelations.

All you can do is love them where they are – cruising uphill, enjoying the view at the peak, feeling anxious about what’s on the horizon, or speeding downhill and holding on for dear life. Sometimes they take risks and put their hands up enjoying the rush of the wind on their face and at other times, they bury their head in your arm with their eyes shut hoping to catch their breath again on the next uphill climb.

But you are right there beside them.  There’s no use in telling them to put down their arms or plead with them not to go on that insane coaster to begin with. Stay on this one already.  Adolescence is enough of a coaster.  You don’t have to add on those crazy risks.  Other times, you try to tell them that it’s ok to keep their eyes open and enjoy the view.  But they are scared and need you to hold on to them a bit longer.

Just as I do with my other two, I will take my #3 by the hand.  We will sit side by side and buckle up.  I will check her safety harness again and again. She will be nervous and excited about what is coming.  For the next few years, the world will be a conduit of possibility. She will see my tears and I will blame the wind. Then I will squeeze her hand enjoying this moment we have together and silently pray that even when she can’t hear me, she might hear the general safety announcement to keep her arms and legs in the vehicle at all times.

And at some point, I will have to just sit back and enjoy the ride.

(And with three children in double digits, this may mean hopping on and off different coasters in a single day.  Thank God I have a strong stomach.)

***

100 scribbles…hurriedly writing the here and now.

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